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Our lives are getting busier. More time working on computers at our desks, more time using our phones, and more time sitting on the tube to get to work… it can be hard to find time to switch off in the capital, let alone to dedicate to your health and fitness.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Londoners are increasingly turning to yoga as a means to help them live a healthier and more balanced life, both physically and mentally.
The name ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit ‘yug’ and has come to describe the notions of unity and discipline. Initially an oral tradition passed down from teacher to student, yoga practices where eventually curated in the Yoga Sutra, a 2000 year old philosophical guidebook for dealing with the challenges of being human, for which the Indian sage Patanjali has been credited.
There are many styles of yoga and getting started can be a little confusing – especially with the breadth of options available in London! How do you work out which yoga style is right for you? ‘Hatha yoga’ refers to the physical aspect of yoga designed around activity and balance to align and calm the body, mind and spirit. This means vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar and Power Yoga are all styles of Hatha. If you’re new to the yogi (or yogini, for women) world, Hatha Yoga is a good place to learn the basics.
Having mastered the fundamentals, many yogis seek new challenges where they can put their physicality and self-discipline through a new breed of test. This is where Bikram yoga comes in.
Stemming from traditional Hatha Yoga techniques, Bikram is considered the original hot yoga style and its franchise has developed a cult following in the years since its development.
Technically, Bikram is a style of Hatha yoga in that it combines postures and breathing, but the rulebook is much stricter. Practised in 40 degree heat (celsius!), each session is 90 minutes long and involves 26 patented postures and 2 set breathing patterns. Each teacher must be Bikram Certified and will follow a script for the class, so whether you’re in Brixton or Canary Wharf your Bikram yoga class the class will follow the same structure. This script is part of what makes the practice of Bikram, to which constant dialogue throughout the session a salient feature.
The story behind this hotter than hot yoga style? In the ancient history of yoga Bikram is incredibly young. First developed in the 1970s by four-time Indian yoga champion, Bikram Choudhury, it has developed a cult following over the past 50 years with Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and George Clooney among its many advocates. Bikram’s idea was to take a long-existing practice and refine it for the modern-day audience.
It goes without saying that yoga is incredibly beneficial to your mental and physical well-being, providing an escape from the London rat race… but what makes Bikram so special?
Like many styles of yoga, Bikram boosts your strength and flexibility and, in many cases, helps you to manage your weight better too. It’s also a low impact form of exercise, making it suitable for runners with sore joints seeking active rehabilitation.
According to the Bikram website, the addition of heat to this practice allows the body to stretch further and improves circulation throughout the body, but helps you to sweat out toxins (many Bikram yogis claim to feel pure and detoxified after practice). The heat is also said to relieve pain such as arthritis, joint aches, knee injuries and back problems. Over time you should see improvements in your glucose tolerance (ability to process sugar), blood lipid profile (measure of cholesterol and fats in the blood) and bone density.
Finally, the extreme heat (did we mention it’s 40 degrees?!) and constant instruction throughout encourages self-discipline and perseverance: block it out and make it through despite the sweat.
But all these benefits don’t come for free. Sessions can be incredibly challenging and you shouldn’t just attend a Bikram yoga class on a whim. Learning the basics of yoga first is heavily advised.
Firstly, it’s very hot. The extreme heat of Bikram yoga can cause problems for those with cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure or a higher susceptibility to dehydration and strokes. It can be tough for a first-timer too: the crowded room, the heat, the sweat... The instructor talks you through moves rather than demonstrating them; listening to the verbal cues encourages you to be in the moment and reach a meditative state, but it can make it difficult for you to follow the first few sessions.
There are a few measures you can take to make your first Bikram yoga session safe and enjoyable.
You’ll sweat a lot during your session so start hydrating around 24 hours beforehand; don’t play catchup by downing a litre of water before your session though, you might find that you end up with quite a full bladder. Avoid eating for 1 – 2 hours before you Bikram session.
Bring water: instructors may not give many ‘rest poses’ during the session, so listen to your body and stop to rest or drink as needed.
Dress appropriately: many Bikram yogis practice in as little clothing as possible (spandex shorts for men and shorts and a sports bra for women). If you prefer to cover up opt for form-fitting clothing, avoid cotton fabrics and anything restrictive.
Take your own yoga mat and towels along with you (we suggest multiple towels). Many yoga schools provide equipment, but most people prefer to sweat on their own mat!
Arrive 30 minutes early to your first session to introduce yourself to the instructor and tell them about any health conditions you may have.
There are a range of Hot Yoga classes available in London, but not all classes are accredited.
Bikram Yoga London offer a Bikram’s Beginners Basics class ideal for those after a good foundation in Bikram before graduating to a full class. At 120 minutes long, this mini-workshop gives you time to explore key postures in detail and develops your understanding of the benefits of each posture. Once you’re happy with the basics, you can graduate onto one of their range of classes with Bikram accredited instructors, from candlelit Bikram Yoga to BYL express (a 60 minutes session for those with limited time).
For South Londoners, Hot Yoga South in Balham offers a Bikram class once a week for advanced-level yogis and yoginis only, with non-accredited hot yoga classes for beginners in the practice.
If you work or live towards Harringay, you might want to make The Yoga Quarter your place of calm. Offering Bikram sessions from 60 – 90 minutes on most days, this studio is well-suited to those with a packed schedule and limited time.
Group Bikram classes can be intimidating, so many people prefer to take private lessons with a certified instructor so that they can ease into the practice. This also means that your instructor has more time to dedicate to your training. They can help you to understand the spiritual side of yoga alongside the physical aspects, make sure that your posture is correct and safe and iron out any bad habits or techniques that could lead to problems later on.
Finding a yoga instructor who is on your wavelength is essential to progressing well in the practice. All Bikram-accredited instructors follow the same script but, as they gain experience, they’re encouraged to develop their own style. As constant dialogue is one of the pillars of Bikram, there’s little worse that having an instructor whose voice grates on you when you’re trying to reach a meditative state.
But how do you know before you go? Sometimes you just get a gut feeling about an instructor, this can be the best way to work out if an instructor is right for you. If your gut isn’t offering you any direction you can also try the following:
Superprof combines all these search methods into one platform to make it easier for you to find your perfect tutor or instructor in London.
Our instructors come from a range of backgrounds, from the newly qualified to the old-hands, and they set their rates accordingly.
Scroll through our catalogue of Bikram yoga instructors until you find a price and location that suits you whether you’re based in Balham, Canary Wharf or Harringay. Each profile follows the same format, so you can easily compare each tutor’s experience, areas of expertise and methodology. There are even reviews and recommendations from former and current students which should give you an even better idea of the instructor’s style.
Finally, most of our instructors offer a free taster session to give you a feel for the class before you commit to payment.
Boost your mental and physical wellbeing today by taking a look through our London-based Bikram-certified yoga instructors.
In London, yoga instructors charge £36 for yoga classes per hour.
The rates for yoga classes will differ depending on:
97% of our tutors offer their 1st lesson free.
In London and the suburban areas, there are 3 private yoga teachers available to teach courses
Take a look at your teacher's personal tutoring advert and contact the yoga instructor that corresponds to your needs. On Superprof, we have yoga instructors covering every type of yoga from Bikram to Ashtanga to Vinyasa.
Did you know you can practice the art of yoga from the comfort of your own home?
On Superprof, many of our yoga teachers also offer private online tuition. In fact, about 80% of the private tutors across our platform give bikram yoga lessons via webcam.
To find available yoga tutors online, just select the webcam filter in the search engine to see the available instructors offering online courses in your desired subject.
Online courses via Skype offer you more advantages in terms of flexibility and are often less expensive as the tutor does not need to travel.
From a sample pool of 2 scores, students scored their yoga tutors an average of 5.0 out of five.
A customer service manager from the Superprof team will be available to help you to find a solution (by telephone or e-mail during weekdays) if you have any queries about your lessons.
Practicing yoga is a great way to help you relax and stay in shape. Other benefits of yoga include increased energy and better respiratory function.
All of our yoga courses with a qualified teacher will help you to learn the art of yoga. Our coaches will help you perfect your positioning, practice meditation and improve mindfullness.
Whether you want to take yoga lessons from the comfort of your home or at an outside location, pick your private teacher and reserve your lessons today.
A messaging system is in place that allows you to exchange with your teacher to organise your yoga lessons whether you want to practice yoga from home or at an outside location
Use the search engine to find your yoga teacher from among 3 tutors in London.